Feb. 15, 2006
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The No. 17 Florida State women’s swimming and diving team is a close second with 72 points after the first day of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships. Virginia leads with 74 points and are followed by FSU (72), Clemson (60), Maryland (60), North Carolina (58), Virginia Tech (56), Duke (40), Georgia Tech (40), NC State (38), Miami (36) and Boston College (14).
The Seminoles made their presence known as they broke several records on their way to winning the 200 medley relay with an NCAA “A” cut time of 1:38.59. The relay featured freshman Christie Raliegh (Boca Raton, Fla.) in the leadoff backstroke leg, followed by junior Lauren Brick (Culpeper, Va.) swimming the breaststroke, sophomore Lauren Sparg (Durban, South Africa) handling the butterfly portion and senior Carrie Ellis (Valrico, Fla.) closing the relay out in the freestyle leg.
“It was a fun relay to watch and a good way to finish the first night,” said head coach Neil Harper. “It was a great feeling for the whole team. One of the hardest things for that relay to do was just sit around for two and a half hours until they got a chance to swim. All four of them have competed in a lot of races together this year. They are really familiar with each other and swam a real smart race tonight.”
The Seminoles set a new conference record, ACC meet record and Florida State record. The previous conference (1:40.27) and ACC meet (1:40.69) records were both set in 1999 by Virginia. The previous Florida State record was set by the same team earlier this season at the Georgia Tech Invitational with a time of 1:40.37.
“To be honest, as fast as it was it still wasn’t a perfect race,” said Harper. “Christie (Raleigh) led off and did a great job but hit her hand on the wall. When Sparg went in her goggles came down but she stayed cool and managed to have the fastest split in the fly. I think the experience of Lauren (Brick) and Carrie (Ellis) really paid off. Brick has looked good all year and she just took off. Then Carrie just brought it home for us on the anchor leg.”
In the night’s opening event, the 800 free relay, the team of junior Romy Altmann (Cape Town, South Africa), sophomore Lindsay Kenney (Plano, Texas) and freshmen Cameron Russell (Alcoa, Tenn.) and Georgia Holderness (Butleigh, Somerset, England) finished in third with a time of 7:19.57 and in the process set a new school record. The previous record was 7:19.59 set in 2005 by the team of Altmann, Kenney, current junior Katie Ronan (Pensacola, Fla.) and former Seminole Renee Gajda.
“The first day has never been a real strong point for us so it was great to experience this much success,” said Harper. “I think we have a lot of personal bests to still to achieve as well as finals and consolations finals left to be won.”
Day two of the ACC Championships will resume Thursday with preliminaries beginning at 11 a.m. and finals starting at 7:00 p.m.